Student of the Month

March 2017
Al Lopez
What brought you to Bumbershoot Aerial Arts?
When I was a kid I would see circus performers and always wanted to try it out. I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition in high school that affected my body in many ways. Spending time in and out of doctor's offices I never thought I'd be able to be physically well enough to live out my childhood dreams. When I moved to St. Louis I was overjoyed to find Bumbershoot. With improved health I showed up to a try it out session. Being in the air was like nothing I had ever felt before. I've been showing up to Bumbershoot to live out my childhood dreams and improving my health ever since.
What is your favorite apparatus to work on?
I love rope! I wanted to try rope out because I have elders from the Civil Rights Era. To take something that was a symbol of fear and have it work with my body instead of against it is powerful.
What is your favorite thing about Bumbershoot?
I love how supportive and welcoming everyone is at Bumbershoot. In day to day life we can forget what another person is going through, and in turn, forget to be kind. At Bumbershoot we all know we are learning a new skill that can be incredibly hard. Because we all have that shared experience it knocks down some of those walls and labels that might prevent someone from regularly interacting with strangers. I feel it makes us more willing to learn from our others, and to praise each other too. I've had complete strangers spot me. On the streets it would be abnormal to ask a complete stranger to hold you up as you're learning something new. But in reality we all need that helping hand sometimes.
What kinds of things do you do when you aren’t hanging in the air?
In my spare time I volunteer with social justice organizations that bring literacy and programming skills to minority youth. I also enjoy cooking vegetables for friends and dancing to Prince in my living room.
What is your favorite dessert?
I don't have a favorite dessert but I like the color red.
When you are having a tough day in class, what do you tell yourself?
Coach April always reminds us about the power of yet. I didn't get that trick, yet. I wasn't able to hold on as long as I wanted to, yet. It may not be there today but keep trying and you'll reach your goal. Plus Janelle Monae has a Sesame Street song about it that I can sing in class.
What is your favorite trick? Least favorite?
My favorite right now is the Hollywood because I get to use my toes for footlock on the rope. My siblings used to pick on me for having finger toes. They never knew my feet were made to climb! My least favorite are beginning silk tricks that are with a knot, because I'm curvy.
If you could run away to a desert island with one person from Bumbershoot who would it be?
Hard to choose but I'd say Sarah N. Sarah's my open aerial buddy and fellow Afro Latina. We could fumble through our Spanish, cook tostones, and she could pep talk me through getting into hip key on rope.
Do you have a favorite memory from class or performing?
I'd say it would be the first time I was able to get a nice knee hook in the air on rope. I learn physical things super slow so it took me awhile for my body to understand how to move to support me. It was so rewarding to come from physically not being able to climb to being able to support myself upside down.
Past Students of the Month